Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Witz DOESN'T Pick: Society Tellin' Me What's What

Despite what last post might have implied, I am an adult-- at least legally if not actively. I've been around for a bit and I have picked up some of the cultural knowledge and baggage that is all around us. I know not to pick my nose, not to yell "bomb" on a plane (or "boom" or leBRON!" or "QUALM!" and I'm even wary of saying "lip balm" when declaring my Carmex lip gloss in its 3 oz ziplocked bag), and I know how to board busses, hail a cab, and speed up at stop lights (right?). SO it really bothers me when society starts tellin' me what's what when I'm very capable of making a decision for myself.

I first noticed the trend at a baseball game. After going to plenty of games at Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium, and watching thousands of games on television, I know when things are good and when things are bad, and I know when to clap accordingly. While driving cross-country and visiting other ballparks, I noticed a horrifying trend-- The giant electronic boards and banners TELLING me when to make NOISE. And when to CLAP and when to say, "LET'S GO (INSERT HOME TEAM NAME HERE)." Whoah whoah whoah. No giant scoreboard is going to tell me when to do things during a game. I think we are all capable of knowing when to make noise and when not to make noise (almost never during a sporting event), and maybe I'm gonna go ahead and decide when I feel it's appropriate. If there are two outs in an inning and your pitcher needs to get this last guy out, everybody better already be standing and clapping. Same goes for when you need a big hit. If it's 6-0 the away team, and it's the fifth, and I'm a Florida Marlins fan...maybe I'm not feeling like making any noise, regardless of what the scoreboard would like me to do. I'd much prefer to use a Lite Brite of my own to give them the message, "Higher Bankroll!"

Now there's a good chance this practice got started in hockey. The jumbo-tron is there, the game is fast paced and energy-ridden, and let's face it, hockey is not the most beloved sport in our nation. It's not crazy that somebody at a hockey game for the first time would say, "Wait, should I be getting excited now?" I mean, goals and fights are times to cheer. But you maybe don't know to cheer when somebody gets checked hard 30 feet from the puck. And maybe you don't know to start getting excited on a 2 v 1 offensive break. It's tough to get excited for faceoffs and icing, but these things happen. So fine, I'll give it to hockey, but that's it. I'm entirely ready to make life decisions regarding the words and noises coming out of my mouth, and any respectable home fan base should be able to start chants and cheers and excitement all on their own. I'm blaming girls on this one.

Last night I encountered another example of society tellin' me what's what that blew my mind. I bought a package of Safeway Brand Chocolate Chip Cookies aka Treasure Chips because clearly I enjoy the middle path like Buddhism preaches (meaning that I wanted cookies, but wasn't willing to pay a lot or have actually good tasting cookies). I am eating a couple of them and glance at the package. Wanna know what it tells me? "Great with milk!"............I was astounded. "'Great with milk?' Yeah, I know they're great with milk-- they're FUCKING CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES!" I can't even remotely imagine a situation where somebody is eating generic brand cookies as their first cookie, with no sociocultural experience at all, reads the label is like, "Hey, that's an interesting idea, I think I'll try that!" It's just not gonna happen. It's insane to think that the helpful hint label is useful to ANYONE. Maybe if you have a smart resourceful baby, who stumbles upon these cookies at eight months, somehow squeezes open its eyes to then read the label, and then uses its resourcefulness (see, you were wondering where that came in) to acquire some milk to test out the theory-- then and only then might it make sense to have on there.

Does this mean Safeway puts this type of thing on other products? Does their turkey say, "Excellent with bread!" or their pasta say, "Try with sauce!" or their condoms say, "Great for sex!" I'm gonna give you a minute to mull over and possibly google the possibility that Safeway sells generic condoms. Done? Great. I have to assume that the ad people were under great pressure to ad a very small addition to the cookie packaging. Maybe their boss is a crazy person, or maybe he wanted this round of Treasure Chips to be the "Goddamn best round ever!" To be fair, there wasn't much else to say. They can't really say, "For fatties!" or "Eat them like crackers!" or "Like a sex appeal vaccuum!" so in context, "Great with milk!" probably seemed like a fair play. I just don't need my cookies telling me something I learned when I was three. And I don't need my sports telling me when to clap. And I don't need my car telling me when its out of gas. I'll know-- it's when the car stops moving. The little yellow light isn't going to allow me to afford $3.65 a gallon any easier.

Pshh-- What A Complainer,

Peep the podcast from this week's radio show if you haven't and be sure to checkout Couples Therapy the short web-show I write for. New episode should be up tonight or tomorrow (but usually every Tuesday).


wonderyak said...

This is probably related to another set of useless labels currently on display - "coffee may be hot", "don't touch the moving blades on the lawnmower (yes, we know they're shiny)", "don't put gasoline in your eye."

We're all just too lazy or too stupid (or both) to know what to do with ourselves.

Hell, if it weren't for the step-by-step directions, I'd be putting mayonnaise in my cereal instead of milk!

Anonymous said...

This is probably related to another set of useless evidence proving James is gay- "the bath-house may be hot," "don't touch the moving anal beads (yes, we know they're shiny)" "don't put gasoline in your sphincter."

We're all just too blind or stupid (or both) to see that James is flaming.

Hell, if it weren't for the step-by-step directions, he's be putting mayonnaise in his boyfriend's ass instead of vasoline!

wonderyak said...

I didn't realize you could Mad Lib blog comments!

Armed with this newfound knowledge, my Friday nights will never be the same! Look out Digg and Metafilter - Wonderyak's gonna Mad Lib your comment-ridden ass.

Thank you anonymous! You've truly inspired me...

By the way? Who's James? Is he cute? Single? I mean. Not that *I'm* gay (not that there's anything wrong with that)...I was just...ahem...curious.